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Timeline 1931-1945

While Austria’s Social Democratic Party yielded impressive municipal programs and public works, the country’s mounting welfare debt leaves the country struggling to stay afloat in an atmosphere of political and financial peril.

Christian Socialist cabinet under Dr. Engelbert Dollfus attempts to bring order in Austria.

Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany and the Nazi party takes control of Germany’s government.

First concentration camp, Dachau, is established as a prison.

Quota system limits Jews to 15% of high school and university students.

Two million people live in Vienna; 200,000 are Jewish.

Dollfuss, in a desperate attempt to maintain control of power in Austria, dissolves Parliament and proclaims himself dictator. He is killed in July.

Various laws are enacted depriving Jews of rights as citizens and in jobs.

Tension grows in Vienna’s political atmosphere.

Japan invades China, initiating the Pacific War that would become part of WWII.

Jews are prohibited from more careers, Jewish businesses are registered; jobs and schooling are restricted in Austria.

Germany marches into Austria on March 11, 1938. Germany annexes Austria and announces Anschluss on March 13, 1938.

Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact is signed in Moscow on August 23, 1939. This secret nonaggression treaty between Hitler and Stalin states that Poland was to be partitioned between Germany and the Soviets. The pact enables Germany to attack Poland without fear of Soviet intervention. It results in the German and Russian occupation of Poland (one large section of Poland becomes a separate Nazi administrative district known as the General Government; the rest of Poland, and over one million Jews, falls under Russian occupation). Germany invades Poland on September 1, 1939. Jews begin to be moved to specified areas in attempt to physically separate out and isolate them. Britain, France, India, Australia, and New Zealand declare war on Germany.

Germany invades Denmark, Norway, Belgium Netherlands, and France.


Germany invades Yugoslavia, Greece, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, and Romania.

Hitler attacks his former ally, Russia, on June 22, 1941 and the German army begins their drive toward Moscow with the Nazi death squad executing Jews along their route east.


Over 10,000 German and Austrian Jews are deported to ghettos in the East. The first transport of Polish born Jews arrives at an extermination camp.

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. U.S. enters the war. American troops join British and Russian forces. Germany and Italy declare war on U.S. The world war now touches five continents.


Jews in Germany and occupied countries continue to be ghettoized, sent to concentration camps, or transported to extermination camps.


Germans are defeated at Stalingrad (Russians defeat 22 divisions of German troops at Battle of Stalingrad).


Ghettos are sealed; many Jews hide in bunkers that would fit as many as 30 people


Warsaw ghetto uprising by Jews against Germans occurs in April.


Germans end siege of Leningrad after more than 3 years.


Germany invades Hungary in March, putting that country’s large Jewish population at risk.


D-Day, on June 6, 1944, brings millions of Americans, British and Canadian soldiers to the shore of Normandy.


Some occupied cities are liberated with few survivors; in other cities, Jewish ghettos continue to be liquidated and Jews are deported to Auschwitz death camp.


Americans occupy Rome.


Auschwitz, which could incinerate 15,000 bodies in 24 hours, officially shut down operations on November 2, 1944.


The Ardennes Counteroffensive (now known as Battle of the Bulge) takes place from December 16, 1944 to January 25,1945.


Soviet forces liberate Krakow on January 19, 1945.


Soviets liberate Auschwitz on January 27, later Bergen-Belsen on April 15.


Germany surrenders on May 7; WWII ends in Europe on May 8, 1945.


FDR dies on April 12; he is succeeded by Truman.


Hitler commits suicide; Germany surrenders to Allies.


U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, on Nagasaki on August 9—the same day Russians declare war on Japan.


Pacific War ends with the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945.

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